Immunoregulatory effects of the antitumor polysaccharide lentinan on Th1/Th2 balance in patients with digestive cancers

Anticancer Res. 2000 Nov-Dec;20(6C):4707-11.


Background: Recent studies demonstrated that patients with advanced cancer may have impaired cell-mediated immunity caused by an imbalance between Th1 and Th2 responses. We evaluated the ability of lentinan (LNT) to modulate Th1 and Th2 responses in patients with digestive cancers.

Methods: Peripheral blood samples were collected preoperatively from 28 patients with digestive cancers before and after intravenous administration of LNT (2 mg x 3 times/week). The proportions of CD4+ T-cells producing intracellular cytokines were determined with flow cytometry.

Results: After LNT treatment, CD4+ IFN-gamma+ T-cell percentages increased significantly (p < 0.05), whereas CD4+ IL-4+ T-cell and CD4+ IL-6+ T-cell percentages decreased significantly (p < 0.02). No significant change occurred in proportions of CD4+ IL-10+ T-cells. The after/before LNT treatment percentages ratio of CD4+ IFN-gamma+ T-cells correlated negatively with that of CD4+ IL-4+ T-cells (p < 0.01). The after/before treatment percentage ratio of CD4+ IL-4+ T-cells correlated positively with that of CD4+ IL-6+ T-cells (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: LNT apparently can cancel Th2-dominant condition in patients with digestive cancers and may improve the balance between Th1 and Th2.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Lentinan / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-4
  • Lentinan
  • Interferon-gamma